What if Someone Called You a Terrorist?
February 2, 2009
Lawyers for the so-called "Toronto 18" will be challenging the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code in court today.
When Bill C-36 was passed in December 2001, it was not without its critics, who said it was passed in great haste and without reflection of the full consequences.
Liberal MP Andrew Telegdi stated in the House on Nov. 27, 2001, "It would be ironic if we win the war on terrorism at the expense of Canadian human rights and civil liberties."
The critics′ fears were proven justified, when Justice Rutherford ruled in R. v. Khawaja 2006 WL 3031774 (Ont. S.C.J.) that a motive requirement was unconstitutional as they circumvented traditional notions of criminal liability and did not require the Crown to actually prove their case.
The Khawaja investigation was clouded with a veil of secrecy, away from scrutiny of the public and the courts. And so was another high-profile case, that of the Toronto 18.
Justice Fletcher Dawson has also raised constitutionality issues in the Toronto 18 trials in relation to the Canada Evidence Act.
Several of the Toronto 18 had their charges stayed already, and the RCMP informant has publicly declared that intelligence agencies had foreknowledge of the innocence of many of those arrested.
The FBI′s COINTELPRO operations between 1956-1971 demonstrated that when the intelligence community is provided unfettered power without adequate checks and balances, abuses inevitably occur. Threats for the FBI were expanded to include Tupperware meetings, high school Halloween parties, and even Martin Luther King, Jr.
The current PATRIOT Act in the U.S. is already under scrutiny for its ability to extend to environmental groups and street gangs.
Members of the Canadian public will be in the Brampton courthouse today to hear some of the problems associated with s. 83.01 of the Criminal Code. As a law student interested in civil liberties and the problems of racial or religious profiling, Omar Ha-Redeye will be on hand between 10-4 to take notes and answer questions from the media.
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